I wrote this last summer for a private publication. It explains why I threw out my old kitty tree. I know y’all were dying of curiosity.
The Squirmy River of Denial
[Trigger warning: grossness ahead. Do not, I repeat, do NOT read while eating.]
So around a month ago I saw some weird white things on my cat Gatsby’s butt. Immediately I thought the worst: tapew*rms. But then just as immediately I decided, no, that can’t be it because I hate and am terrified of w*rms more than anything [take note any Orwells]. I went googling, as you do, and found out that boy cats sometimes have “excretions” and I thought oh of course, how silly of me to have thought the Other Thing. Probably I leapt there because of my phobia.
How could Gatsby have w*rms anyway? I grok the flea vector whatchamacallit and he hasn’t been outside, except for that one time when I put him in a leash/harness contraption and took him for a drag two months ago. Except for that. One. Time.
That’s all it takes for a lot of things, as we are supposed to learn at age 12.
From time to time over the next few weeks I saw a weird white thing on Mr. G and wiped it away. Until Saturday night over Labor Day Weekend. The weird white thing moved. OMG! I stood there paralyzed with shock. Saturday night. Holiday weekend. What the heck was I going to do? I googled up emergency vets. Found one in Huntington Beach. They said I could come in. I realized at that point I would spend any amount of money to make this go away, and it was on.
I squashed poor Gatsby in his cardboard carrier and headed out. Made it halfway down the first flight of stairs when the carrier broke. The whole bottom had come unglued. Like my brain. I did have a fleeting thought that I could wait until the next week to deal with this in a sensible way, get a new carrier, etc. NO! Completely out of the question. I grabbed Gatsby, who was like, dude, I am not digging this spontaneous adventure one iota, went back inside and stuck him in the leash/harness contraption, which in some kind of disgusting cosmic circle had caused this entire problem.
OK, I put him in the car and told him to stay in the back seat. He jumped into the back window and sang the song of his people for the entire half-hour ride. So far so good. Well, goodness being relative, natch. In the vet’s office, people thought he was awesome for being on a leash and not even fussing at the doggies all there for bloody noses and such. Real emergencies, in other words.
The first thing that happened was the discovery in the examining room by the tech that Gatsby has lost weight, about 2 pounds, which is a large percentage for a 12-pound creature. Now I felt like a terrible kitty mommy for not dealing with this earlier. My poor baby! It also cemented the fact that we were dealing with w*rms and shattered my last sliver of hope it could be anything else. You know, like the squirmy mucus virus or something.
Finally, the vet came in, a super-nice man who wanted to talk about Gatsby, the movie. Please, no, just give us drugs. Then he opened his super-cool doctor’s book to explain about the whole flea-tapew*rm-mammal cycle, which I already knew about, but he was so excited to discuss it, gibbering how neato it was that a million years of evolution had led to this bizarrely complex system, etc. And the book had illustrations! OMG. Drugs, please, now. Then he said how we would definitely have a thorough treatment plan because ha ha he didn’t want me to get them.
OMG OMG OMG
Already my throat was itchy as if… you know. THEM.
(I know it’s not like that. But this is a phobia, people. Work with me here.)
When the tech brought in the treatment plan contract, I signed it instantly. I would have signed anything. And she gave Gatsby oral meds and a shot. Yes! Finally. I have an anti-flea pill to give him when the apparently ineffective OTC flea meds I used wear off, and once a month thereafter he must take the pill. Translation: I must grab him and stuff it down his throat, after which he will bite me viciously. I have to return to the vet’s for one and possibly two more rounds of meds, depending on his stool sample next time, which I have to collect (blech).
OK done. Time to drive home. I told Gatsby he was a very good boy and to stay in the backseat again. But he crawled onto my lap after I got on the 405. That was interesting… let’s just sum up by noting I am alive to write this. And I went out the next day and bought a plastic carrier.
The rest of my holiday weekend? Was spent dismantling my entire apartment, cleaning, vacuuming , and flea-spraying everything, and twice. I threw out his kitty tree because I couldn’t clean it thoroughly. I summoned superhuman strength to drag it down the stairs to the dumpster and also to dismantle my bed and flip the mattress around. Don’t talk to me about poison. Do.Not.Care. There is only one thing that matters here.
My throat is still itchy…
They haven’t returned, thank gawd.
I waited almost a year before I bought a new kitty tree.